The last time we took a look at the division, the Dallas Stars were in first place. It’s a week later now, and the Stars dropped all the way down to fourth place before picking up a win last night in Edmonton to throw them right back in the thick of it. The victory over the Oilers was a much needed end to the five game losing streak, and a perfect way to welcome new owner Tom Gaglardi. Dallas played the right style of hockey last night, and it’s the style that will keep them winning. Their next game is against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night, who are 2-0 against the Stars so far this season. It’ll be the toughest test of this Thanksgiving home stand, and a win against a divisional opponent would be the best way to continue the team’s return to form.
San Jose Sharks: (12-5-1, 25 points)
The Sharks have put themselves into first place in the Pacific Division with a convincing 3-game winning streak, beating Dallas, Detroit, and Colorado. Patrick Marleau (9 goals, 19 points) netted a hat trick in their 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night, and Joe Thornton (5 goals, 20 points) continues his perpetual play-making abilities and now leads the Sharks in scoring. San Jose plays six of their next seven games at home, giving them an opportunity to keep their place atop the Pacific. Their next game is Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Phoenix Coyotes: (10-6-3, 23 points)
Phoenix just finished up a five-game road trip, and they picked up three wins in five games, but he two losses were hard fought, one goal games, and the Coyotes continue to play their non-flashy style of hockey, and they continue to pick up wins. Have I mentioned Mike Smith? Of course I have, and I will continue to if he keeps playing his game. His goaltending has been incredible, and he’s beginning to get some national recognition for his play. He was finally beat in regulation in a tight contest with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he still boasts an impressive 9-3-3 record, not to mention a save percentage and goals against average of .936% and 2.16, respectively. The ‘Yotes will next play the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles Kings: (10-7-3, 23 points)
It seems like the Kings have put themselves back on track. They’ve won three of their last four games, picking up a pair of wins against the hapless Ducks (we’ll get to them in a minute) and the Minnesota Wild to put them in a tie for second place in the division. Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards lead the team in scoring, and after a frustrating start, there has to be a refreshing feeling of relief in Los Angeles. They aren’t out of the woods yet, but they are heading in the right direction. The Kings are next in action against the St. Louis Blues TONIGHT.
Anaheim Ducks: (6-10-4, 16 points)
Oh man, the Anaheim Ducks are in a bit of meltdown. A meltdown headed to full catastrophic failure if they don’t kick it in gear. That top superstar line consisting of Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf has looked laughable, the team has looked lifeless, and the fans in Anaheim must feel like they’re losing hope. They have exactly one win in their last eleven games. I don’t think anyone can point to one element of this team and say “this is what’s wrong, now let’s fix it”. This team is essentially the same team as last year and they can’t win now, for some reason. The only ray of light is an upcoming six-game home stand. Perhaps an extended stay in Anaheim is what the Ducks need. But there really is no telling until they can prove they can actually start winning games. Dallas fans should find themselves fortunate compared to Anaheim fans. I know I do. The Ducks have a rough road ahead. Their next game is Wednesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.
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Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Anze Kopitar, Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, Dallas Stars, Glen Gulutzan, Joe Thornton, Los Angeles Kings, Mike Richards, Mike Smith, Patrick Marleau, Paul Bissonette, Phoenix Coyotes, Ryan Getzlaf, San Jose Sharks